Breaking down a Stream, a Teaching ah-ha!

Gibs stream


[ This little stream was the #1topic. ]

A couple of post back I talked about the workshop I held on designing and building waterfeatures and of all the jobs we looked on this day the above stream was easily the most discussed waterfeature.

The workshop attendees had me go into great detail about how this job was built, transition, the stream edges, and the ripple efffects inside the stream.

There was also a lot of interest in how I was able to get to the stream to look so real. To sell the illusion of a natural waterfeature.

I was very pleased with the reaction of those in attendance. It was a really great opportunity to break down how something like this is built. The size of the class and the interest allowed us to work through the images very thoroughly, and allowed me to diagram and draw out many of the specifics in creating this type of stream.

6.5 hours of time really enabled us to really understand what goes into the process in the design, layout,and building of streams and waterfeatures.

This workshop has changed my thinking on the way I will give talks in the future(if I get the chance to do more) concerning water.

A divergence in my own stream of thought.

Attendees get shortchanged when they go to Conferences where everything is fed to them in 45 or 55minute doses. This may be enough time for a motivational talk, or a refresher course . . . but to actually learn something, to actually get inside the instructors thought process, to ask the un-explained —–no way.

I am still baffled why most of my industry still insist this is the way to do things.

The idea that hundreds of people herded from on room to another for a hour at a time for 2 or 3 days is a great teaching environment . . . doesn’t make sense.

This is not high school or college. We are not here for an entire semester of learning, at best we have those precious 2 or 3 days together.

Granted these industry associations have a narrow window of time to work with, and most attendees have few days to devote to these annual gatherings . . . added together this makes for limited opportunities to work in/with.

But does it always have to be the same thing?

Opening remarks, Headliner, multiple days of 1 hour seminars, with a keynote/closer to end the conference. Same thing . . . every conference . . . every year.

Sure the keynote/motivational guys are good, the 1-hour classes to keep up professional credits are needed also. Toss in a few food-for-thought talks . . . to me that’s enough of that. After that, it’s time for a change.

1 hour workshops just don’t cut it. I know; for me, that if a lecturer/teacher/presenter really has something to say/teach/divulge I can’t learn enough in one hour. I want some breakdown, some real knowledge imparted, to really delve deeply into the subject matter.

This cannot happen in one hour.

This cannot happen in one darkened room after another.

This cannot happen where the handout consist of the sum total of the PowerPoint lecture.

This cannot happen in a room with hundreds of people.

If someone has real knowledge, real experience, real talent, real skills, real wisdom . . .give them time, give them opportunity . . . with a small number of students so there can be real learning . . . real back and forth. A chance to fully explore a subject.

How do those folks running the large conferences think anything can really be learned when there is no real opportunity to ask questions? To be part of a give and take. To fully absorb the presenters philosophy? I’m truly puzzled by this way of thinking.

Maybe I’m all wet. Maybe I don’t have a clue. May-be this isn’t about learning at all . . . maybe this is all about the mystical recharging of the batteries, or some such thing, and it really isn’t about learning. Well . . . not learning is not my thing, and it certainly wasn’t what those who attended my workshops “thing”. They were hungry, they wanted to learn, they asked questions-lots of questions . . . and it was great.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.

1 comment

  1. Rick, I have to agree with your teaching ah-ha 100%. I came across your site while searching for some sort of landscape design seminars to recharge my batteries over the winter. Our local industry associations just seem to have the same basic classes over and over. And the 45 minute short courses seem to be the same at the shows every year.

    If you have any seminars coming up, please let me know.



    Thanks April,
    I am considering several options on doing my own series of seminars, the real problem for me is to figure out where to have them, and how to get the word out so that I can get enough folks to attend so I do not go into the poor house.

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